I just returned from a five-day conference in Fort Lauderdale, and the hotel arrangements got me thinking about the price (and more importantly the value) of convenience.
I stayed at the designated conference hotel, directly across the street from the Convention Center, a short walk from all the meetings and events. Some colleagues chose to stay down the street, a good 10-15 minute walk each way. They saved about $30 – $40 a night (which does add up), but they had to plan their day around that walk — no running back to the room for a sweater if the meeting room is too cold, or dropping off a heavy bag of brochures/handouts before moving on to the next activity, and if they stuck around to have dinner/drinks with colleagues at the end of the day, they had to walk back alone in the dark afterwards. To me, the convenience of being right on-site more than outweighed the extra cost.
And convenience is even more important when we’re talking about a vacation! When you’re making a “once in a lifetime” trip to Paris, London or Rome, how important is it to you to be right in the middle of the city, within walking distance of the sights and attractions? If you save $50 – $100 a night by staying on the outskirts, will that make up for having to spend precious vacation time (and money) on public transportation every day? What will you remember in the end – the price of the hotel room or the experience of strolling out your door to watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace?
It’s something to think about. And it’s definitely something that a good travel advisor should talk to you about when you’re planning your next trip!